Nie Yan and Xie Yao drove around Huahai together. The sights in the city were fairly decent. More importantly, this was home.
Nie Yan drove the car, occasionally sneaking glances at Xie Yao. With her pure, white dress, she looked even more enchanting against the backdrop of the night, like a fairy in the dark.
“My father gave me a call. My grandfather is asking you to visit our villa in Xiangdong when you have the time,” Xie Yao said, her cheeks flushing with an alluring rosy colour.
Nie Yan sank into silence for a moment. “Maybe some other time.” He didn’t want to visit Xie Yao’s family right now. If he went now, he would have to meet Xie Yi and her other relatives.
“Alright, I’ll let my father know.” Xie Yao nodded. She knew what he was thinking.
The two enjoyed this brief moment of tranquility. Eventually, Xie Yao had to go back to accompany her parents, while Nie Yan still had many responsibilities to take care of inside Conviction. When the time for the servers reopening approached, the two finally parted.
Nie Yan returned home. He ate a little something, then entered the game.
After pausing in the daytime, the clock in Conviction continued ticking again.
Nie Yan would have to spend an astronomical sum of gold to develop his fiefdom. He checked his various accounts. Asskickers United roughly had 2,300,000 gold saved up, the Starry Night Potion Shop close to 2,000,000, and the Union of Assassins roughly 2,000,000 as well. Furthermore, he had accumulated about 3,000,000 gold in his personal storage, the profits from his auction houses and shops.
However, this amount of gold was far from meeting his needs. His territory could contain a major city the size of Calore. He could also freely construct strongholds in any suitable places. Every development project came with exorbitant costs.
What had Nie Yan the most excited was that he could enact his own laws and set the taxes in his territory. He could also form his own army and recruit NPCs to serve in it. If he was willing to pay the price, he could even recruit an extremely powerful expert.
If Nie Yan had a powerful NPC army, Asskickers United’s foundation would be unshakeable. What’s more, he could freely launch attacks on Angel Corps.
There were simply too many things that needed developing in his territory. Just where would he get all the gold from?
The stockpile of Dispel Fog Scrolls and gems were almost sold off. Asskickers United had earned an enormous sum of gold, but Nie Yan still needed even more revenue sources!
Nie Yan conceived a plan in his head. Ordinary methods would produce limited results. A couple hundred thousand gold was a mere drop in the bucket for Asskickers United.
Go big or go home!
Nie Yan thought of an extremely ruthless method used in reality, and that was dumping and monopolizing! In the past, the United Kingdom had relied on this method to create the legend of the great British Empire.
When a nation’s production ability reached a certain level and they wanted to completely take over the market of a rival nation, they would frequently resort to a certain method, and that was flooding and monopolizing. First you would flood the market of that nation with ridiculously cheap goods. With no way to compete with these prices, the domestic companies in that market would go bankrupt one by one until you gained a monopoly. Afterwards, you would slowly raise the prices back up to normal. Like this, you could make enormous profits.
Nie Yan confirmed his target. From now on, he would completely control the potion market in the Viridian and Satreen Empires! The most powerful commercial force at his disposal was undoubtedly the Starry Night Potion Shop!
At present, the Viridian and Satreen Empires had only three Sage-rank Alchemists, and they all came from the Starry Night Potion Shop. However, they didn’t become Sage Alchemists by themselves but rather with the help of Wish Necklaces. Over the past couple of months, Nie Yan had people search all over for materials and crafted a total of 11 Wish Necklaces, three of which had the Alchemy 1 property. Apart from this, the 21 out of the 26 Grandmaster Alchemists and close to 90% of the 5,000 Master Alchemists also belonged to the Starry Night Potion Shop. They naturally also had a large number of Advanced and Intermediate Alchemists.
After being operated by Nie Yan for so long, the Starry Night Potion Shop’s production capacity was quite astonishing, controlling close to 60% combined market share in both the Viridian and Satreen Empires. Even though they already had significant sway over market prices, the remaining 40% wasn’t to be looked down on. Every time Asskickers United tried to increase their profits by raising the prices of certain potions, numerous Alchemists would flood the market with that same type of potions. A game of cat and mouse where the prices would always return to their original spot. So, the Starry Night Potion Shop still hadn’t formed a true monopoly. The most important aspect of a monopoly was the ability to dictate prices to whatever you wished!
Nie Yan ran some calculations in his head. If the Starry Night Potion Shop could control more than 90% of the market, their profits would increase by at least fivefold. This was the might of a monopoly.
The flooding part was to swallow up the remaining 30% of the market. However, this required an astronomical sum of gold!
At present, Asskickers United had a total of 9,000,000 gold in circulation. Every day the gold generated by the Starry Night Potion Shop, Union of Assassins, strongholds, auction houses, and other businesses would be used to pay the guild’s expenses. The net profits came out to be roughly 1,000,000 gold in total. If this kind of frightening financial ability was put to full use, one could imagine what could be accomplished.
Nie Yan might lose some money in the short term. However, if he could truly achieve a monopoly, the pay off would be enough to support the costs of development of the Abernathy Great Grasslands.
Nie Yan already had a flawless plan in mind. He hurriedly called over Guo Huai in preparation to carry it out.
After receiving Nie Yan’s summon, Guo Huai rushed over.
“Did you call me over for something important?” Guo Huai asked.
Nie Yan began explaining his plan. The more Guo Huai listened, the deeper his shock grew. “This plan is ruthless. If we really succeed, the only ones left in the Viridian Empire and Satreen Empire will be our Starry Night Potion Shop!” Guo Huai could hardly conceive this. If they truly formed a monopoly, their profits would increase exponentially. Not to mention, even if the plan failed, Asskickers United would still profit. Be it in the short term or long term, it would be a great help to them.
Guo Huai suddenly thought of something. “However, we need to watch out for Angel Corps and those other guilds. They’ll probably try to get their slice of the pie. They might even utilize their own funds to interfere with us.”
“Even if they try to intervene, we’ll still make more than enough. As long as we keep this under tight wraps for as long as possible and slowly take things step by step, it’ll be too late by the time they react,” Nie Yan confidently said.
“That’s good. Tell me what needs to be done. I’ll get to work right away.”
“We’ll carry out the first phase right now. First, have some trustworthy people scatter to all the various cities and start buying up all the medicinal plants. Make sure not to attract too much attention. Also, we need a large amount of capital. Relying on the 9,000,000 gold we have on hand isn’t enough. Make an announcement to all the players in the guild and the five branch guilds. We’ll be borrowing money with a 30% monthly interest,” Nie Yan said. In the real world, a 30% interest rate was the same as loan sharks. However, in Conviction, this was the norm since gold depreciated pretty quickly. The interest rate of most loans was usually around 20%.
“How much gold do you want to borrow?” Guo Huai asked.
“The more, the better. Every extra gold will net us better results. But let’s say at minimum 30,000,000 gold,” Nie Yan said. Given how well off the players in Asskickers United and the five branch guilds were, 30,000,000 gold was nothing to them.
Guo Huai gaped open his mouth. “Isn’t this method a bit too extreme? If this plan fails or we don’t make as much gold as projected, we’ll be feeling the repercussions for a long time.”
“Don’t worry. Trust me. All you have to do is follow my instruction,” Nie Yan assured.
“Alright then. I’ll listen to you.” Guo Huai immediately summoned his subordinates. About a hundred of his trusted aids, all of whom were trustworthy people he knew in real life, spread out to every city with 70,000–80,000 gold each.
Nie Yan’s plan was fairly simple. Conviction was completely operated by the system. Every day, only a fixed amount of medicinal plants spawned. Relatively speaking, it wasn’t that much. Players would harvest a portion of these medicinal plants, then dump them in the marketplace for Alchemists to buy. Afterwards, they would be crafted into various potions, which would be sold to the players. The amount of medicinal plants was limited. Every time a player grinded mobs or ran dungeons, they would have to consume a large amount of potions. So, supply and demand for potions in the marketplace were at a roughly equal level.
The supply of medicinal plants in the marketplace wasn’t that great in the first place. With Nie Yan using his capital to swallow up all the medicinal plants, this delicate balance would be easily broken. When Nie Yan’s acquisition of medicinal plants reached a certain level and medicinal plants became more and more scarce, the price would naturally rise. At that time, the medicinal plants he had accumulated would become more valuable.
This wasn’t the end. With the price of medicinal plants going up, potions would also become more expensive. How else were Alchemists supposed to profit? They would charge a production fee on top of material costs. That was how they operated. If Nie Yan flooded the market with potions crafted from the medicinal plants he swallowed up previously for cheap, and priced the potions at roughly the same price as the current market price of the materials, the situation in the market would instantly enter a strange state. The potions produced by the Starry Night Potion Shop were all made from the medicinal plants that were previously bought at a cheap price. So, they were still making a profit. However, the outside Alchemists would be facing a dilemma. Because they hadn't stockpiled on medicinal plants previously, if they tried to match the Starry Night Potion Shop’s prices, they would be forced to sell at a loss. As time passed on, the Alchemists who weren’t affiliated with the Starry Night Potion Shop wouldn’t be able to hold on any longer. Then Nie Yan would spread the word that the Starry Night Potion Shop was recruiting new Alchemists and offering generous salaries. All those Alchemists at the end of their roads would flock to the Starry Night Potion Shop.